NIIAG supports federal investments in civic infrastructure so everyone can thrive in the U.S.
(WASHINGTON, February 25, 2021) – Today, a national coalition of nonprofits representing 1.6 million organizations in America sent a letter to leaders in Congress to support provisions in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 that will bolster community and civic structures that ensure all communities across America – especially Black, Indigenous, and other people of color who have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic – can rebuild, engage, and thrive.
Members of the Nonprofit Infrastructure Investment Advocacy Group (NIIAG), which supports policies that recognize the essential role community and civic infrastructure plays in meeting the challenges of the public health and economic crises unleashed by COVID-19, issued the letter. NIIAG is grateful that the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 addresses many key priorities outlined in its recent policy agenda. The nonprofit coalition urges Congress to include these additional provisions as the legislation moves forward.
Specifically, NIIAG supports provisions that provide supplemental funding to advance:
- Digital access for all – Distance learning, telemedicine, and spiritual services require accessible and reliable internet services. While many nonprofits are able to convert to virtual operations, the persistent digital divide prevents them from fully serving their communities. The $7.6 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund will help eligible schools and other organizations provide connected devices and internet access to students and teachers for use at home.
- Childcare for working parents – The childcare system is on the verge of collapse due to COVID-19. Without emergency stabilization, many nonprofit employees will not be able to return to work full-time, even once the virus is under control, and already-burdensome tuition will hurt nonprofit employees even more as increased costs are passed along by providers. By providing $3.55 billion per year to the Child Care Entitlement for States, $15 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, and $24 billion for subgrants to qualified providers, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 will help alleviate the immediate burden faced by many families and stabilize this critical industry.
- Culture, arts, and humanities workers and programs – These cultural, arts, and humanities workers and programs are vital to the nonprofit sector and essential to the economy, vitality, and well-being of the communities they serve. Additionally, they have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic due to the nature of their work. The $135 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, $135 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities, $200 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and $10 million for Native American language preservation will support the programming and operations of these organizations at a particularly vulnerable time.
- National service – NIIAG supports robust federal funding for an expanded vision of national service, including an increase in the number of funded positions. The $1 billion provided to the Corporation for National and Community Service (including funding to state commissions and the Volunteer Generation Fund) will support an increase in AmeriCorps volunteers to respond to communities affected by COVID-19. NIIAG appreciates that grants will be prioritized considering the diversity of communities and participants, similar to recommendations from the Inspired 2 Serve report.
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – As people continue to spend significantly more time in their homes, it is increasingly important to ensure they can pay increased energy costs. The legislation provides LIHEAP with an additional $4.5 billion which NIIAG strongly supports.
- Clean, healthy transit – Transit plays an important role in keeping people safe during the pandemic, fighting climate change, and improving public health. NIIAG strongly supports the provision in this legislation for an additional $30 billion for the Federal Transit Administration to assist with operating costs, including payroll and personal protective equipment.
The following organizations signed the coalition letter:
|Americans for the Arts|
|Americans for the Arts Action Fund|
|Communities in Schools|
|Community Resource Center|
|Council of Michigan Foundations|
|Dream Corps Green For All|
|Fund the People|
|Minnesota Council of Nonprofits|
|National Indian Child Welfare Association|
|National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA)|
|National Urban Indian Family Coalition|
|Native Ways Federation|
|Philanthropy West Virginia|
|Service Year Alliance|
|St. Jude Innovation Fund of Parkersburg, WV|
|The Henry Ford|
|United Philanthropy Forum|
|United Way Worldwide|
|YMCA of the USA|
About NIIAG: The Nonprofit Infrastructure Investment Advocacy Group is a national coalition that began in 2020 that is made up of more than 35 national, regional, and local nonprofits and foundations. NIIAG seeks to rebuild the country to a place better than before and prioritize investments for equitable outcomes for communities. It does so by advocating for federal investments to strengthen the nation in the wake of COVID-19, the economic crisis, and racial injustice. Independent Sector and KABOOM!, an IS member, started the nonprofit coalition.
Independent Sector is the only national membership organization that brings together a diverse community of changemakers at nonprofits, foundations, and corporate giving programs working to ensure all people in the United States thrive.